Monday, January 24, 2011

Comments leave chancellor Black and blue

Leonie Haimson says:
I think the analysis below is wrong – it’s not that Klein had a better “brand” when he came in, or that over time, his attitude to parents were any more acceptable.  I know parents who say that he made the same comment about “birth control” as Black did. 
It was that he was given the benefit of the doubt at first; but after  9 years of arrogant, dismissive and destructive policies, Cathie Black didn’t get a honeymoon….she was thrown into the tiger pit immediately.

Lisa Donlan says:
I largely agree with Leonie here, but would take it a step further- not only has the collective good will worn out eons ago, not only have we seen the tone-deaf administration's policies flip and flop and fail at every turn for the last 9 years, not only has the pace of "reform' accelerated wildly as the race to the end of the Mayor's final stolen term draws near, but I must acknowledge that Ms. Black comes to the arena with some serious deficiencies in training and experience that dwarf those of her lawyer predecessors Klein and Levy.

 She simply has NO higher education beyond her BA (and you'll recall those grades were kept hidden, indicating something to hide?); she has no background in public service of any kind as a framework; she has no construct or category regarding public schools- not even passive personal experience, making the cramming and media training she is getting doubtlessly hard to absorb; among other personal deficits.

 By choosing a tabula rasa to be his spokesperson, the Mayor left out an essential ingredient- the ability to spin and spout rhetoric, or even lies, depends on a certain level of passion and belief.

Many have debated over the years whether or not Joel Klein actually believed the lies he told.
 Many believed that he believed, which for PR purposes is as good as his actually believing.

 I personally always thought the guy was too smart and too intellectually honest to believe all the flip flop rhetoric based on nothing more than cooked data at best.
 For me the litmus test was that he and his minions always refused to allow District One to maintain our controlled choice admissions plan designed to increase diversity and equity of access in our local schools.

 A true believer of civil rights  would have worked with an impassioned community to maintain this system, but he never even bothered to look underneath the hood, while all the central-borne policies he championed stratified, segregated and chipped away at our community schools.
When the talk does not walk,  you know what you've got- a sham.

 When the scripted talk is unconvincing and the unscripted talk is insensitive, off the mark and inflammatory, you've got something else- a disaster!


Comments leave chancellor Black and blue
Schools Chancellor Cathie Black and Mayor Mike Bloomberg's announcement this week that they would devote funding to help students who flunked the recalibrated state tests was not sufficient to repair Black's image, according to experts in political communications and marketing. They said Black is in danger of being identified by two unscripted comments—her joking request for birth control to help reduce school overcrowding and a remark that budget cuts are “Sophie's choices,” a reference to a film where a mother must choose which of her children will die in a Nazi concentration camp.

“She needs a makeover,” said one consultant with experience in crisis management. “It's more than one quip that went flat. It suggests a nervousness and a lack of comfort in dealing with media scrutiny of this kind, and a bit of tone deafness for the electorate.”

The comments seemed to legitimize a criticism of Black that went beyond her lack of education credentials—namely, that she has “such a corporate mentality” and would struggle with public discourse, the expert said.

Another political consultant said, “She needs to positively distinguish herself with something, or she'll wind up on the discount rack very quickly.” Unlike her predecessor, Joel Klein, the lead prosecutor in the Microsoft anti-trust case, Black did not enter the job with her own brand because the general public was unfamiliar with her career in magazine publishing, the consultant said. Rather, she was introduced by the media as someone who is “under the Bloomberg marquee and throws good parties.”

“She was a public relations disaster from day one,” a third consultant said. “The only bright side of the birth control comment is that it distracts from the fact that she has no ties to the school system. However, it reinforces a perception that she is an out-of-touch dilettante.”

In a Crain's online poll this week asking if people had a right to be upset by Black's comments, 70% said yes.

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